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tv   Newsline  PBS  March 21, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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syrian resolve. russia and china join in as the united states call for -- calls for an end to the violence. the u.n. secretary council has endorsed a blueprint to stop the violence in syria. former secretary general drew up a plan which calls for a cease fire. talks between the government and the opposition and access for aid agencies. russian and chinese delegates -- franco reports from new york.
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>> reporter: it has been over a year since assad's government began a fierce crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. the security council adopted a unanimous statement on the issue on wednesday. >> the security council expresses its full support for the efforts of the envoy. >> reporter: the statement urges assad's government for a limited cease fire. it also demands it halts the use of heavy weapons. the united states and european countries have signed a legally binding resolution. but it was vetoes. endorsed this time because it frames from calling on assad to step down. >> we're very pleased that the security council has chosen to take a look at the situation in syria. >> reporter: i think it's a
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product of a concern in russia about being isolated in the world community. an earlier vote on the general assembly was quite lopsided. criticism of the assad regime. but fundamentally i don't see great change in russia's concern. >> reporter: the move comes as a violent crackdown on civilians continues. troops have seized in central and northern syria. the security council has managed to show a unified position over the crisis. but the compromise means the council has failed to adopt stronger measures that would be more effective in stopping the violence. the adoption of the statement has made evident the inability of the international community to act effectively on the situation in syria. widad franco, nhk, new york. >> our senior commentator and
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middle east correspondent tells us what these developments mean for the assad administration. >> it needs to continue to win back territory. the administration wants to stop anti-government forces from expanding across the country. assad has proven he is determined to do whatever it takes to stop the position. his concern is if anti-government groups reach the capital damascus, they would out him from power. no match for government forces militarily. but it's unlikely it will give up on its quest to topple assad administration. i don't think syria will be stable in the near future. it will be difficult for russia and china to veto against syria.
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especially if the number from the government crackdown reaches 20,000 or 30,000. plus if more women and children are killed, more syrian army soldiers could defect in protest. in my view, the assad administration has lost legitimacy. its fall is inevitable. the question now is how long would it take for that to happen and how many lives will be lost in battle. another concern is that no one has emerged as a prospective leader. if the situation continues, the country could launch into a civil war. that would throw the whole region into turmoil. and this is my biggest concern actually. in other news, a gunman suspected of killing four people
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including three children at a jewish school remains holed up in a house in france. french police raided the home of the 23-year-old man who they say is of algerian decent. ensuing shootout left two policemen injured. french police have surrounded the home and are trying to talk the man into surrendering. the man claimed he is a member of al qaeda and has lived in pakistan and afghanistan. the government also hinted the attacks were retaliation for israel's occupation of the palestinian territories. the man also admitted shooting dead three soldiers last week. authorities say he planned to kill a soldier. he's quoted as saying he was protesting france's military deployment in afghanistan. world leaders are expected to focus on north korea and iran at a summit in seoul.
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they'll discuss common approaches to ensuring safety of reactors. the first round of the summit took place two years ago in washington. the second round starts monday in the south korean capital. representatives from japan, the u.s., china, and 50 other countries will take part. leaders agreed on an outline of the summit's joint statement. they said nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to security. they said all nations must take responsibility in preventing groups including terrorist organizations from getting their hands on nuclear materials. the outline also mentions the accident at fukushima daiichi and the need to address the safety of reactors. they cited the need to improve emergency preparedness. north korea has stepped up its rhetoric ahead of the summit. the north says if world leaders issue any statement on its numb program, pyongyang will take it
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as a declaration of war. north korean central news agency said on wednesday that any such provocation would go down in history as a heinous crime. it also said any provocative act would create a huge obstacle to the denuclearization of the peninsula. korea wants the community to send a message to urge the north to abandon its intentions. >> reporter: south koreans have been protesting for a month to get beijing to stop sending north korean defectors back home. about 500 south koreans took part in seoul on saturday. organized by humanitarian groups. >> some north koreans leave their country rather than endure difficult living conditions.
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and an authoritarian government. most defectors cross a river on the country's northern border. there are estimated to be as many as a hundred thousand defectors hiding in china. from there they try to find their way to south korea. but chinese government officials have clamped down. they send about 5,000 defectors a year back to the north. south koreans are working on a number of fronts to get the chinese to stop. >> reporter: the movie "crossing" released in 2008 gave a look of harsh action taken to those. now reports out of the north have raised concerns even higher. north korean authorities are believed to have stepped up punishment for defections.
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three generations of the defectors' family are to be executed if the escape took place during the mourning period for the late kim jong-il. in south korea, some people are signing petitions hoping to pressure the chinese. a defector in his 20s is taking part in the campaign. when he was a child, he and his parents fled to china. after the parents died, police captured him. subjecting him to harsh questioning. they tried to find out if he planned to go to south korea. >> translator: to force a confession out of me, they tied me to a bed. they wouldn't let me sleep for two days. but i didn't confess.
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>> reporter: eventually chinese authorities returned him to north korea. for three years he served time in a labor camp just like defectors in the movie. after his release, he made it to south korea. but it was a close call. >> translator: china is cruel to people who with defect to stay alive. they send them to their deaths. >> reporter: these human rights workers from south korea have people who want to escape from the north. during the last decade, the group smuggled some 380 fugitives out of china into south korea. if the chinese police catch group members, they will be forced to pay app huge fine.
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>> translator: private groups like us are weak. so we have no choice but to appeal to the community. we wanted to pressure north korea to free the defectors. >> reporter: now south korea's government has become more involved in the issue. on february 27th, a south korean delegate at the meeting of the u.n. rights council, it was the first time the country officially appeared to the body. >> i make the most sincere appear to the human conscience of all for the protection of the basic human rights of those asylum seekers. >> reporter: china's response was swift. >> translator: north korean defectors are entering china illegally. the issue does not concern the international community. >> reporter: on march 12th, emotions ran high.
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as a north korean diplomat was leaving, he assaulted the female south korean delegate. the skirmish shows just how difficult it will be to resolve this issue. >> spoke to us from seoul after we had that report. we asked why more are gaining protests against the chinese government. >> they fear north korea's new leader kim jong-un will order more extreme punishment for defectors. detained 31 north koreans last month. some were repatriated. protesters in seoul had rallied outside of the embassy every day since. south korean officials have had talks with their chinese counterparts. about negotiations are at a stand still. so government in seoul has taken the matter up with the u.n. and
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with the americans. south korean affairs and minister met earlier this month with secretary of state hillary clinton. kim asked her and other u.s. leaders to use their influence to urge beijing not to send the defectors back. some americans, too, seem passionate about the issue. protesters demonstrated on tuesday in front of china's embassy in washington. and in three other cities. south korean leaders are expected to bring up the issue at an upcoming meeting with the chinese counterparts. they'll meet on the side line of a nuclear summit in seoul that starts next monday. well, oil importers need stable supply of oil. but sanctions against iran are making it difficult for the japanese. ai uchida has the latest on
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that. >> just yesterday i'm sure you remember the united states decided to exempt japan from its sanctions. now japan is calling on the european union to exempt it from a planned embargo on iranian crude oil. japan depends upon iran for 10% of its crude oil imports. the eu compiled a new set of sanctions against iran because of its nuclear development program. includes banning insurers from covering tankers from carrying iranian crude. japan's trade and ministry said if the sanctions become effective in july as planned, all oil shipments to japan will have to stop. that's because most crude oil importers have contracted with european insurers. the japanese government says it will step up efforts to persuade the eu to accept the japanese plea. the eu is likely to finalize the embargo later this week. sony will sell its chemical
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products business to a state affiliated bank. the move is part of the firm's efforts to turn around its finances through streamlining. the japanese electronics maker is in talks with the development bank of japan over a sale of its subsidiary sony chemical and information device. the firm is not directly related to its core electronics business like televisions. it comes as sony is expected to post huge losses of about $2.6 billion for the fiscal year ending this month. it would mark the fourth straight year of losses. the subsidiary manufacture chemical products. they include optical disks for dvds and cds. and glues and adhesive tapes for industrial use. it has some 2900 people on its payroll. the subsidiary posted sales of about billion last business year. sony aims to continue operation
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os of optical disks and magnetic tape due to their contribution to the main businesses. but it plans to dispose of the other products. well, over on wall street, the dow jones industrial average ended lower after disappointing u.s. housing data. to see how stocks here are trading let's go to ramin mellegard. we've seen a mixed picture for u.s. stocks but i hear trade data was just released in japan. >> we have the trade figures for japan. a bit of a surprise there. showing a surplus for the first time in five months of around $400 million. and we're seeing a little bit of reaction there. the yen gaining a touch which is actually capping any upside for the nikkei. let's have a look at the exact levels for the nikkei and the topix. trading in and out of positive territory for the past 15 minutes. a bit of a mixed picture there.
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marginally higher for the nikkei and topix. one concern of course for the markets is what you were talking about earlier about oil imports from iran. and also within the deficit -- within the trade numbers, the increase in energy imports here in japan still remains. that's a bit of a dilemmarom japan as it's caught up in the exemption from the sanctions which is one of the conditions there of lowering its imports from iran. then it gives the oil wholesalers a bit of a headache. by getting energy products from elsewhere in the gulf region. and then all the insurance and re-insurance questions come up as you mentioned earlier as well. so we're going to keep watch of that sector there. and specifically stocks like cosmo oil and nippon oil and other energy-related stocks. that's going to be a big story. the currency markets, as i said we're seeing a bit of shift into
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the yen. although not a massive move after the housing data in the u.s. and some growth concerns in china. and also following the trade surplus numbers we just had before the markts open here today. but you can see there euro/yen 110.09-14. dollar/yen 83.28-33. also commodity backed currencies such as the australian dollar have seen some assets shift out of those and into the dollar and the yen. and also following last month's bank of japan inflation goal which investors say may still keep the yen on a somewhat weakening trend. we'll keep track of that throughout the day. >> and ramin, more data expected out of the united states later today. >> yeah. definitely, again a focus on jobs. we have the weekly jobless claims numbers. and we have leading indicators.
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so we'll see that. a lot of expectations are for strong numbers coming out of the u.s. if they're not as strong as many economists had expected, we might see a pullback in stocks. but for now, a little bit of a mixed picture for the nikkei and the topix this thursday morning. >> good stuff. that was ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. will mark prefabricated structures for growing vegetables. they look like small cargo containers. made with a floor size of ten square meters using its pre-fab housing technology. the unit is equipped with installations needed to grow vegetables. they include shelves, an air conditioner, and lighting to promote photosynthesis. before being delivered to the site.
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>> translator: people want a stable supply of safe food. those needs are growing not only in japan but also worldwide. we can offer this system a significant bly cheaper prices than investments up to now. >> two types will be offered. here a recap of the latest market figures for you.
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a big of a mixed picture for a start here in japan. we'll see where trading takes us. back to catherine. >> thanks very much, ai. the united states is fine tuning a major military shift out of japan. about 4,000 marines will be transferred from okinawa to guam with about 5,000 more sent to hawaii, australian, and other locations. the move is part of a u.s. realignment of its military in japan. the u.s. had originally proposed moving 8,000 marines from okinawa to guam. the two governments have decided to keep this transfer separate from the planned relocation of a marine corps stationed in okinawa. they had been working on the deals in tandem. both sides are negotiating to keep about 10,000 marines in okinawa to maintain security in the region. this would include the headquarters of the force and the 31st marine expeditionary
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unit. taiwan's government has opened an office in taipei to help japanese companies do business there. shift production to taiwan to beat the rising yen and the impact of last year's disaster. will help build factories and establish ventures with taiwanese companies. >> translator: taiwan is the best partner for japanese firms. we hope to increase tie ups with businesses and enter emerging markets. >> taiwanese authorities also built an industrial park in china to attract small and medium sized companies.
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plan to set up an investment fund. japanese investments in taiwan, a gate way to china's huge market, hit a record high last year. around this time of year the weather gets milder in tokyo. let's go to sayaka mori now who has the world weather forecast. >> good morning. it's certainly going to be the warmest day of the year. cherry blossoms in the region have started to bloom. so which is a sure sign of spring. weatherwise, it's going to be dry, but it's going to change from tomorrow. heavy thundershowers in central china and the southern half of the korean peninsula will move into japan. tokyo will turn wet on friday. meanwhile, wet and -- i should say dry and windy in the central portions of northern china. the sandwich is a yellow sand is
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expected to cover eastern china including the beijing area on friday. and southwestern japan on saturday. that could cause low visibility. down towards the philippines, still unstable. the risk of flooding and landslides are very high here. temperaturewise getting up to 32 degrees in manila and scorching hot in bangkok with 37 degrees. warmer than average in shanghai with 19 degrees. and tokyo 16 degrees for the high on thursday. heading over to the americas, heavy precipitation have been pounding much of the central u.s. all the way up to eastern canada. parts of the southern plains in the lower mississippi valley have been experiencing the brunt of it. we've been hearing reports of large hail, damaging winds, and even tornadoes. because the system is moving very slowly, the same situation here will continue throughout wednesday. out towards the west, there is
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another low pressure system moving across northwestern portions of the u.s. and western canada. but this is a winter storm spreading heavy mountain snow and rain across the coastal areas. gusty winds will be accompanied by a heavy precipitation. the risk of avalanches is very high. we've been talking about exceptional warmth in the east. what's going to happen over the next two days, look at this. getting up to 28 degrees in boston for your thursday. and 21 degrees on friday. only 8 degrees in boston for the average. and washington 25 degrees on thursday. and warmer friday. enjoy the warm weather for the rest of the week. speaking of temperatures, much of europe is also experiencing warm condition under this high pressure system. in between these high pressure areas, there is a strong system lying over france/spain border
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spreading heavy thundershowers in southwestern france. and those conditions here will continue throughout thursday. up towards the north, there is another area of unstable conditions moving across norway into finland and into northwestern russia in the next 24 hours. as for temperatures, wintry mix expected in moscow with 2 degrees. which is quite seasonal. but for the rest of europe, lots of double digits. look at this. 16 degrees in london. 20 degrees in paris. and 17 degrees in berlin with a lot of sunshine. all right. here's your extended forecast.
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and that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks for joining us.
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